Jack Ross explains his key message for Sunderland players in team meetings this week

Jack Ross knows his Sunderland side are yet to hit top gear.

Saturday, 15th September 2018, 8:00 am
SAFC 1-1 FTFC EFL league1 Stadium of Light 08-09-2018. Picture by FRANK REID

Their habit of conceding in the early stages of games has cost them points and it is something he is eager to address.

Team meetings this week have underlined the need for improvement on that front but Ross has not been trying to mask any shortcomings when he says that he is pleased with the team’s start.

In every game he has seen positive signs and he has underlined to his players this week that many of the trends are hugely encouraging.

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The Black Cats boss is eager to ensure that constructive criticism does not deflect from those positives.

“I’d probably take more comfort [from getting results while not playing at full potential] if I felt as if we were at the levels that I think we can get to,” he said.

“Balanced with that is the resilience we’ve shown to get results and also, there’s been periods in every game where we’ve seen so many good things, and it’s just getting it all to come together.

“Last Sunday morning I watched the game back and the last 15 minutes of the first half were really good,” he added.

“Not just alright, really good. We dominated and scored, and the latter part of the second half again was good.

“We’re not going to dominate for 90 minutes, it’s just making sure that in the periods when we’re not dominant that we don’t concede.

“We did a little presentation to the players in the week just to emphasise to them that if you take those first 15 minutes out, we’d be having a really, really good season.

“The stats back that up and it’s good for the players to see that.

“I would see they can see it in black and white, but the way things are now we have all the nice colours on charts and what have you!

“But they can see it and that we can potentially win a lot of games.”

Ross admits that the club’s unbeaten start to the League One season has helped him to get his concerns across in a more positive environment.

He hopes that will help the team should their form dip at some stage in the season.

“The fact that we’re getting results means it is less pressurised in terms of addressing it,” he said.

“You can do it in a much more positive manner because the players don’t see it as a panic situation.

“It’s important to do it even though we’re unbeaten because when you go through a sticky spell then the players will know that it’s something you do anyway, rather than thinking, ‘he’s panicking, we’re in crisis’.

“That consistency should help the players.

They know that they can better individually but they also know that, we showed a bit about our average points and what we’ve taken this season, if they’re replicated over the whole season, we get promoted,” he added. “That’s been a good thing to show.”